Lydia Ko wins again, this time on home soil

Lydia Ko wins again, claiming her second NZ Open, but her first as a pro

Another week, another trophy for the unstoppable Lydia Ko, this time in New Zealand
(Image credit: Getty Images)

After reaching the top of the Women’s Rolex Rankings 4 weeks ago, Lydia Ko looks set for a long reign after successive victories in Australia & New Zealand

Four weeks after becoming the youngest ever world number one, New Zealand’s 17-year-old sensation, Lydia Ko, has given every intention that she will be immensely difficult to dislodge after successive victories in the ISPS Handa Australian and New Zealand Opens.

Last week she clinched the Australian title by two in Melbourne, and this week she doubled that winning margin to four at Clearwater Golf Club in New Zealand to claim her national Open for the first time as a professional, with her previous victory in the event coming two years ago as a 15-year-old amateur.

Record-breaking New Zealander, Ko, was helped in no small measure by a scintillating second round 11-under-par 61 which was both a career-best and a course record. Despite that, she went in to the final round just three clear of England’s own teenage wonder, Charley Hull, who is just a year older than Ko and who last year became the youngest ever winner of the Ladies’ European Tour Order of Merit.

When Ko double-bogeyed the 8th and Hull eagled the 10th to close the gap to two, despite struggling with her putting for much of the front nine, it looked like the two teenagers might deliver a thrilling finish. In the end it wasn’t to be, thanks largely to a three-shot swing on the 12th where Ko birdied and Hull doubled after straying long into the water.

Hull unravelled a little down the stretch, eventually signing for a 75 and a share of 6th place with Scotland’s Pamela Pretswell among others, leaving Australian amateur, Hannah Green, to claim second place after a joint best of the day closing 68.

Ko went on to sign for a one-under 71, which was comfortably good enough in the end, setting a new tournament record score of 14-under par in the process.

Reflecting on her excellent start to the year, Ko admitted it had gone better than she might have dared to hope: “I tied second in my first week, tied seventh the week after, then won my last two events. So this is even better than I would ever have imagined. It’s just great to have won the two Opens back to back.”

After a week off, the Ladies’ European Tour resumes in two weeks’ time for the World Ladies Championship at Mission Hills, where South Korea’s Inbee Park is the defending individual champion.

Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response